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Humor Regulation at Hand?

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There’s the possibility that making jokes may soon be subject to government regulation. According to an independent report, Political Correctness In Action is lobbying to have humor regulated — and not just because of political correctness.

“Jokes are no laughing matter. Everyone knows that humor can not only be deeply offensive but is, in fact, medicine and as such jokes and comedic words , gesture and actions need to be regulated,” said Neva Smiles, president of the group PCIA

The lobbying group is pushing for legislation that would require anyone telling a joke or “indulging in comedic or humorous actions, gestures or words” to have a state-issued medical license. Jokes could then only be told in the state in which you were licensed.

A spokesman for the health insurance industry said that the sector is already working on a diagnostic code for those who need to be humor recipients. Once the insurance company has cleared the person to receive “humor care,” a licensed humor practitioner could tell them up to three jokes or LII, Laughter-Inducing Interactions, within any 24 hour period. Because laughter also often occurs in the joke-teller, LHPs, Licensed Humor Practitioners, would be limited to treating three patients a day.

Similarly, a pharmaceutical rep who chose to remain anonymous, said companies are already working on formula that would produce the same effects as laughter without dangerous exposure to offensive jokes.

One substance is hydrotetrachlorodisulphide known by the name Laughenol. This rep said that although ‘Laughing Gas,’ in the form of Nitrous Oxide is widely available, there were concerns within the industry of its impact on the environment, and therefore new, synthesized forms of comedications  (pronounced comedic-ations) were necessary. One pharma industry analyst and investor, Maeda Fortune, said this could be the greatest boost to pharma since they were able to get acceptance of the name Attention Deficit Disorder to replace the former diagnosis of Minimal Brain Dysfunction.

Not everyone is in favor of the new proposals, however. Memory researcher Professor Ivor Gotten says humor is important to memory and that he has concerns that a reduction in humor would be a big problem.

An expert in self-control, Dr. Ava Nother, said that many people are compulsive joke tellers and may have difficulty refraining from unlicensed humor.

The pharmaceutical industry claims that rumors of ties to the lobbying group are completely unfounded. “We have never had a formal meeting with them.” He did admit senior pharma execs had unexpectedly run into the lobbying group at a Washington restaurant and had so much in common they ended up chatting for four hours.

Given that 50% of physicians report symptoms of burnout, perhaps they are the ones that need exposure to humor, rather than be the conveyors of it?


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article aren’t necessarily the opinion of the writer, neither are they necessarily the views of any platform or vehicle in which this article is replicated or reproduced which include newspapers, magazines, all other print media, television, broadcast media, the internet (the ‘world wide web’), internet providers, cable operators and any other form of distribution which may or may not be regulated by the FCC. Any similarities to any living person or current public, private, state or federal institution are entirely co-incidental. Any similarity to any current local, state and federal statues, laws and regulations is entirely co-incidental.This article is in no way intended as legal or medical advice. If you are seeking to engage in any of the activities mentioned in this article you are advised to seek legal counsel. If you have any of the symptoms or conditions mentioned in this article please consult a licensed medical practitioner. The names of places in this article are not the actual locations of alleged events and have been changed for confidentiality purposes. The time-frame mentioned in this article may have been changed for historical reference purposes. No animals were harmed in the writing of this article (despite the fact that the author’s cat repeatedly walked across the keyboard and was generally a nuisance, she was treated within the animal treatment guidelines stipulated in state and federal statutes.) Neither the author nor his assigns or heirs are responsible for any emotional, mental or physical reaction you may have from reading this article. Side effects of reading this article might include laughter, frustration, anger, boredom, insomnia, narcolepsy, chest pain, runny nose and diarrhea. If you experience any adverse physical reactions as a result of reading this article call 911 or immediately go to your nearest hospital Emergency Room. If you object to this article please contact your local or state Humor Control office and ask for the Lost and Found department.





On Writing and Pregnancy

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Part 1: Confessions of a Literary Midperson

“My book has just come out!”

The exuberance and relief that often marks this particular life milestone is similar from what many mothers exclaim when they deliver birth to a child. And why not? After all, there are a lot of commonalities between giving birth to a baby and giving birth to a book.

Just as there distinct stages of pregnancy, there are also similar milestones in writing a book.

Stage 1: Expectation. This is characterized by hope and excitement as the decision is finally made to write that book. Authorship is like parenthood; many, many want to do it but they’re just not sure when they’ll get around to it. But now the decision has been made! The commitment is there. The future has been cast. The possibilities are endless. Best seller! Author awards! Talk shows!

Stage 2: Reality. This is when reality sets in. This is going to be a long process. It can be painful. Your sleep is disturbed. You’re up earlier and awake longer as you struggle to move forward. Doubt, even nausea, might even creep in. About 60% of your time seems to be spent struggling to come up with the right acronym for your process. And time seems to stand still.

“I’ve only been working on this thing for four months?!!! Seems like a lifetime. How am I ever going to get through the next seven months?”

As you see, cognition can be impaired, too, as you are disarmingly distracted by the task at hard.

Stage 3: End Run. Time is almost Einsteiningly stationary but the end is in sight. A combination of doubt and expectancy mingle seamlessly every day. But as the end nears, the doubt subsides and the joy of creation and possibilities take over. You even have a delivery date!

Stage 4: Delivery. It’s time to launch. As your loved ones huddle around, you are ready to bare your soul in the ultimate act of exposure. You know that life will never be the same. Then, at last! Total joy as you have the product in your hands. It looks so beautiful! It is part of you and that can never be taken away — whether you like it or not. Blissfully, you drift off to sleep in a lightened state, exhausted but relieved that the process is over. Except, of course, it isn’t over. It’s only just beginning.

Stage 5: After Delivery. This is when the distressing reality hits you that now you need to work even harder to make your new baby popular. This will take months, if not years. Surprisingly, many people have been so busy in gestation that they haven’t thought too much about raising their child.

So, there you have it, EREDAD; Expectancy, Reality, End, Delivery, After Delivery. (As in “ere dad, you take your baby and feed her, I’m exhausted.”)

As a ghostwriter and writing coach I see myself as the literary midperson. I am literally helping my authors give birth. Some of them actually are so busy that they give me the labor pains of pregnancy but I’m ok with being a surrogate mom. But that psychology background sure comes in handy when helping my clients through the various stages of pregnancy.

And then preparing them for what comes next.

Coming soon. Part 2: Parenting. The really hard part.

NFL approaching 4th Down and Ten: Neuro Furore Looming

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Phineas Gage sounds like he could be a lineman for the New York Jets. Adrian Raine sounds more like a running back for the Minnesota Vikings. Neither are NFL players but they both are going to have some serious influence on the future of the NFL. When most of the talk this week has been about knees during the anthem, the fact is that brains are much more of problem for the NFL, potentially threatening the current system of play.

Phineas Gage was a railroad construction foreman in the mid-nineteenth century who ended up with a lump of metal through his forehead as a result of an accident. Although he survived for twelve years, Phineas completely changed his personality, becoming violent and emotionally out of control. He has become the poster child for how brain injury can lead to personality change and specifically violent and anti-social behavior.

Adrian Raine is the Professor of Criminology & Psychiatry in the Department of Criminology of the School of Arts and Sciences and in the Department of Psychiatry School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a leader in the field of neurocriminology, the link between brain function and criminal behavior. One of Dr. Raine’s most established, and accepted, notions is that frontal lobe damage is common amongst offenders. The frontal lobe is the seat of reason as well as planning. When the frontal lobe becomes dysfunctional, violence and impulsive behavior often follow. These structural brain changes are clearly detectable.

Last week, Aaron Hernandez, the disgraced murderer who used to play for the New England Patriots and who hanged himself recently, was found to be suffering from the brain damage at the center of the concussion debate, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Some of the symptoms of CTE include impulsiveness, poor judgment, depression and suicide.

Perhaps Hernandez was a psychopath from the beginning but more likely his brain damage almost certainly occurred from playing football. And that brain damage surely played a role in his violent and impulsive off the field activities.

So, here’s the point. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, might well stand up and say that anti-social behavior has no place in the NFL, but the problem is that the game itself is likely contributing to the very behavior the commissioner abhors.

This goes way beyond concussion protocols. There is no question that any activity that risks serious head injury and concussions isn’t just about early dementia, depression and cognitive decline, it’s also about the very real risk of personality changes, impulsive, anti-social behavior and violent crime.

It has been convenient to this point to perceive that those NFL players associated with criminal acts simply represent a personality type who would be drawn into a violent sport like football. However, a more compelling argument is that their anti-social behavior is a result of, or a substantial function of, head injuries incurred when playing football.

Movie Lines and What They Really Say About Relationships

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As a writer, I’m always searching for that great line that succinctly articulates a fundamental truth. As a writer, co-writer and ghostwriter of almost fifty books, I can say that it not always easy to come up with that great line. Sometimes the line is clever and accurate, sometimes it’s clever and misleading. Having tried my hand at screenwriting, I know that movie scripts lend themselves to great one-liners. In fact, many movies are remembered by their great one-liners. I know that you’re probably thinking, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” but please read on.

Screenwriters are incredibly talented people who can create a captivating story by inventing situations, putting them in visually compelling contexts and then adding memorable dialog. And there are two movie lines that stand out for me, that reflect fundamental truths about relationships. One of the lines is brilliant, the other memorable for the wrong reasons.

You might have already guessed one of the lines, or certainly recognize it. It comes from the movie Love Story. The line is, of course:

“Love is never having to say that you’re sorry.”

What a clever line, except that it’s meaning is fundamentally flawed.

I understand the attempt to show that love supersedes everything, but that is a romantic fantasy. For me, the reality is the opposite:

Love is often having to say you’re sorry.

True love involves empathy and the ability to understand and respect the other person, and that includes apologizing when you have hurt them or offended them in some way. True love is appreciating the other person and going out of your way to nurture them, which includes apologizing when appropriate. True love is never taking the other person for granted.

So, my take on this one is that…

Screenwriting sometimes means having to say you’re sorry.

The other line comes from the great movie War Horse. One of the main characters has just done something completely irresponsible by spending a lot of money on a horse when he and his wife are about to go bankrupt and get evicted from their farm.

The irresponsible character asks his wife not to hate him for his recklessness.

She turns to him and maybe gives one of the great lines in movie history.

“I might hate you more but that doesn’t mean I love you less.”

Wow! Our binary brains assume that you can’t love someone AND hate them, but the reality is that you can, and often do. The binary brain’s arbitrary distinctions often cover up complex realities. People, especially our spouses, are complex individuals — as are we — and we will have various emotions about them, none of which are mutually exclusive from the others. Of course, it is possible to love and hate someone, especially someone that you are close, too.

One of the failings of the human brain is that it can only attend to, and feel, one thing at a time, so it is difficult to accept we can have conflicting emotions. When we do, we try to resolve the ambiguity by diminishing one of the emotions, which can be problematic. This can lead to thoughts such as “No, I don’t love him,” or “Okay, I’m not really angry, I’ll get over it.” Both feelings are legitimate and shouldn’t be dismissed. But neither should they be seen as permanent. Love is the ability to keep this perspective when driven by a brain that is trained and geared to come up with a simple answer rather than face the uncertainty of complexity.

The key here is that emotions are signals that reflect temporary, current feelings and the brain lives in the present and overreacts to, and overvalues, current feelings. Sure, you might be angry now but if you really love someone you will make the time and effort to consider their actions, realize that your anger is an important signal designed to help address and resolve a situation through love, rather than a replacement for love.

Sure, as Norman Bates says in Psycho, “We all go a little mad sometimes,” and it’s important not let today’s emotion ruin yesterday’s love. The problem is that often “what we have here is a failure to communicate” not a failure in our feelings.

May the force be with you.

7 Rules of Congressional Baseball

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    1. No term limits so 25 strikes before you’re finally out

    2. You can filibuster the game by arguing with the umpires for 24 hours straight

    3. A stolen base is immediately reported to the ethics committee

    4. Lobbyists allowed to appeal to umps to overturn calls

    5. Errors recorded as “conflict of interest”

    6. A foul ball is one that is hit outside party lines

    7. Russian umpires not allowed

An Important Life Lesson From My Friend Paul

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He came from Glasgow and joined my school, Harrow County in suburban London, in the upper grades and we quickly struck up a friendship. We had a few things in common, but mostly a shared sense of humor and a quick wit. Sometimes he was the only one who understood my “jokes” and it’s always good to have someone like that around to salvage your self-esteem. In the classroom and occasionally walking to and from the train station, we had little thought about the future. Then he went off to study at Cambridge and I went off to be a high school exchange student in California. He got a first class honors degree (this is really difficult to achieve, especially at one of the top universities in the world) while I introduced American Football to the University of Nottingham.

Years passed. He had graduated from law school and was running a practice and I was just getting my psychology PhD. Once I accepted a job offer in America, just before the easy access to computers and e-mail, our contact ceased. If you had seen us in high school you would surely have known that our real talents were in creative expression, perhaps even before we knew it ourselves. And so, the slow emergence of our natural gifts took root. At different times both of us left our respective professions, Paul as a lawyer and me as a psychologist, to become writers.

” We did not change as we got older, we just became more clearly ourselves.” – Lynn Hall

Fast forward almost four decades and now Paul is a heralded author and TV writer. His TV show Losing It is about a man, who like Paul in real life, had testicular cancer and is a master class in writing. Who thought that anyone could tackle the subject of cancer with such insight and compassion and still keep it light? Then there was his BBC comedy hit show From May to December that run for 39 episodes and was nominated for several TV awards. These were followed by acclaimed sitcoms So Haunt Me and My Hero. Meanwhile I was writing about dementia, stress, divorce and The All-American Red Heads.

Now, Paul has ventured into the world of novels, with his new book In the Matter of Isabel, and children’s books with Losing Arthur that will be released in August. Both are getting rave reviews. For example:‘In the Matter of Isabel has it all – humor, romance, and a compelling narrative. Paul A. Mendelson’s experience as a young Cambridge-educated lawyer and his decades as a successful TV comedy writer have enabled him to write a splendid novel. In the Matter of Isabel has the page-turning drama of a John Grisham legal thriller and the comedy chops of a Woody Allen script. Mendelson is a terrific writer.”

Miles Corwin, bestselling author of And Still We Rise, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year.


And as for Losing Arthur…

“An exciting, roller-coaster quest of a book. For everyone who thought having an Imaginary Friend was something only little kids did…”

Elly Brewer. Multi-award winning, ex-Lead Writer of Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground

Similarly, a few people have said they really liked my books. One of my best reviews was:

This is an awesome book that everyone should read,” by Phyllis Rankin, (my mother).

Chances are that Paul will win the Nobel Prize in literature before I finish my first screenplay but I still have hope for movie versions of In God’s Waiting Room and Searching for God in Syria, books due out later this year, as well as Breaking the Press the story of the All American Red Heads.

You really can learn a lot from very smart people. And one of the things that we can all learn from Paul is that it is never too late to find your true calling.

Thank you, my friend.

PS: See you on the bestseller’s list!

Pre-order your copy of In the Matter of Isabel now here

Psychopathology and Political Leadership

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Could you drop a bomb that killed thousands of innocent people? Could you withhold information of an enemy raid even though you knew it would wreak havoc on one of your cities? The evidence is that if you have psychopathic tendencies you could, all in the name of pragmatic leadership.

Some of this work comes from what has been called the trolley problem, a thought experiment in which you are told to imagine that you’re riding on a trolley that is headed down a track and will kill five people. Your only choice is to switch the rails and have the trolley go down an alternate track and kill just one person. Most people can do that with some discomfort. However, in another version of the experiment, the only way you can stop the trolley and avoid the deaths of five people is to throw an overweight passenger off the trolley to his certain death. Most people balk at doing this but psychopaths don’t. As psychologist Kevin Dutton says in his book The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, in the experiment psychopaths, without batting an eye, are perfectly happy to chuck the fat guy over the side, if that’s how the cookie crumbles.”

Neuroscience research shows that in these morally difficult dilemmas psychopaths can sometimes understand how others might feel but they don’t care. Areas of the brain that are involved in empathy and sympathy light up in “normal” people when faced with moral decisions, but in psychopaths stay as quiet as Bourbon Street on a Sunday morning.

So was a Harry Truman a psychopath for dropping the A bomb? And one of Britain’s finest, Winston Churchill, was reported to have offered no warning for the Luftwaffe’s attack on Coventry that claimed almost 600 lives, even though he apparently knew of the raid. Why? Because he didn’t want the Germans to know the British had hacked their communications code.

Look around the world and you will find leaders who might score fairly highly on tests of psychopathy. Could it be that leadership, specifically political leadership, demands the ability to put pragmatism above morality? Many of us could not put our moral concerns and consciences aside, which is probably why nice guys don’t get elected president. If we gave all presidential hopefuls an fMRI test to determine their empathy and psychopathy, would we elect the moral candidate or the one who could put morality aside?

As far as narcissism is concerned, if you weren’t a narcissist before you became president you’re likely to become one once you are elected. Psychiatry Professor Robert Millman first identified “acquired situational narcissism” to describe people who were once reasonable but because of their star status develop a sense of superiority. It would be hard to imagine anyone in the office of President maintaining their humility in today’s world.

Perhaps they shouldn’t?


Dutton, K. (2012) The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success. Macmillan.

National Public Radio interview with Doctor Robert Millman on Talk of the Nation, August 21, 2002

First Down and Ten Commandments: What GOD Thinks about the NFL

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1.  He prefers Monday Night Football, and doesn’t think games should be played on a Sunday.

2.  He likes the Saints, and wants them to be joined by the Angels, Padres, Bishops and Deacons to form a separate NFC Spiritual division.

3. He likes the concept of the Hail Mary and suggests that if a team comes from behind by more than            21 points in the final quarter, the winning touchdown or field goal should be called a “Lazarus.”

4. In similar vein, the St Augustine Award should be given to the player who cleans up his act the most in any one season.

5. He doesn’t like Instant Replay as he doesn’t believe in going back. (See Mrs. Lot).

6. He is very busy and as a result suggests cutting out some ads so he doesn’t have to waste three hours watching 12 minutes of action.

7. He suggests that some selected games should be played in Rome and Jerusalem.

8. He thinks that the “illegal man downfield” rule should be scrapped.

9. He reminds us that, first and foremost, NFL stands for ‘Never Forget Love.’

10. He is still working on this one, so please leave your e-mail. Be one of the first to know when The Tenth Commandment is delivered!

Howard Rankin interviewed Pastor GODonnell for this piece.

 Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article aren’t necessarily the opinion of the writer or anyone else, neither are they necessarily the views of any platform or vehicle in which this article is replicated or reproduced which includes newspapers, magazines, all other print media, television, broadcast media, the internet (the ‘world wide web’), internet providers, cable operators and any other form of distribution which may or may not be regulated by the FCC. Any similarities to any living person, spiritual entity or current public, private, state or federal institution are entirely co-incidental. Any similarity to any current local, state and federal statues, laws and regulations is entirely co-incidental.This article is in no way intended as legal or medical advice. No animals were harmed in the writing of this article (despite the fact that the author’s cat repeatedly walked across the keyboard and was generally a nuisance, she was treated within the animal treatment guidelines stipulated in state and federal statutes.) Neither the author nor his assigns or heirs are responsible for any emotional, mental or physical reaction you may have from reading this article. Side effects of reading this article might include laughter, frustration, anger, boredom, insomnia, narcolepsy, chest pain, runny nose and diarrhea. If you experience any adverse physical reactions as a result of reading this article call 911 or immediately go to your nearest hospital Emergency Room. If you object to this article please contact your local or state Humor Control office and ask for the Lost and Found department.

The Five Things I Hate About Listicles

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You won’t believe number six!

Okay, I get it. In today’s crowded media environment trying to get attention is about as difficult as threading a camel through the eye of a needle. And once you get someone’s attention, keeping it is just as hard as most people seem to have the focus of a manic butterfly on speed. So, I understand the reasoning behind the listicle; I just don’t like where it leads. It capitalizes on lazy thinking and takes advantage of inherent cognitive biases. I realize they have some value and are here to stay but here are five reasons I don’t like lists with numbers in them.


  1. Just Seeking Attention. When I was a younger, I had an annoying friend who would do and say outrageous things. When I responded he would say in an almost poetic lilt, “I made you look, I made you look!” His sole purpose seemed to be in getting attention. After that there was nothing of substance. Similarly, the current preoccupation with getting “eyeballs” threatens to dilute the message and become more important than providing value and substance. So what if something has been viewed a few million times? I’d rather write a piece that has 50,000 views and 50% of readers value it, than a piece that has a million views and only 1% value it. (Do the math as well as think of the brand perception). In short, the medium threatens to destroy the message.


  1. Emotional manipulation. In their presentation, listicles take a leaf out of the advertisers playbook and resort to emotional manipulation in order to get attention. Marketers have known for eons that people aren’t logical beings, we’re rationalizers and story-tellers and are driven by emotion. Hook that emotion, be that fear or anger, and at least you can get some attention. But that process minimizes the product. If Moses had come down from the mountain and said, “I have here the Ten Commandments of the Lord,” and then added, “You’ll never guess number two and you won’t believe number seven!” it would have rather distracted from the enormity of the moment. It would imply that the material itself needed promoting in a somewhat manipulative and shoddy way. Emotions are like spices that provide interest and taste to the meal but the problem with a lot of today’s communication is that it’s all Tartar sauce and no steak.


  1. Listicles Trivialize. Listicles take advantage of binary brain simplicity and reduce content to the simplest of ideas. This is a problem with the development of social media in general — it doesn’t encourage critical thinking and discernment. We live in a sound bite world that minimizes and misrepresents complexity. Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Eat Junk Foods. Just five? There are five hundred reasons you shouldn’t eat junk food and identifying just five is a misrepresentation of the inherent dangers of a poor diet. This also plays into the anchoring bias — the first number you hear anchors your perception, like an ad or infomercial that initially anchors a product to an artificially high price so that subsequent offers seem too good to refuse. Despite the fact that most of us realize that the initial price is artificial it doesn’t prevent us from not just falling foul of this bias, but actually using it to justify our purchase!



  1. Steps aren’t the same as action. There’s something compelling about numbers and steps as they organize perception, but that’s the problem. They organize it in a way that distorts the material by reducing it into supposedly logical steps. The focus on small numbers, especially in advice about behavior change, also creates a framework that misleads. For example, here are five steps to conquering Mt. Everest. Purchase tickets to Nepal. Buy climbing equipment. Hire a Sherpa. Set up base camp. Start climbing. Easy, right?



  1. Number Hypnosis. Numbers have legitimacy but they fail to convey nuance. Take a look at Shakespeare. We could rename Romeo and Juliet, Five Ways to Resolve a Family Feud. Or how about renaming Hamlet, Three Ways a Ghost Can Influence International Relations? Rather than just enjoying the drama most of the audience would be partially focused on which step they were on at any one time.


In a complex world, binary brain simplicity and cognitive bias predominate and overall that’s not a good thing. It leads to uncritical thinking, stereotyping and bias of all kinds. That’s why I don’t like listicles. So there.


If you want to learn more, please visit my website www.IThinkThereforeIAmWrong.com where you can find 7 ways to think like a genius, but only for a limited time, while stocks last. You can also find 5 reasons why all ideas on that site are gluten-free.


A Match Made in Henna: How a group of Red Heads changed the perception of women and sports.

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Breaking the Press: The Incredible Story of the All American Red Heads

By Orwell Moore and Tammy Moore Harrison with Howard Rankin

One of the great things about being a writer is you often get to share history and sometimes it is important.

It started our partly as a gimmick, the brainchild of a man who was both a marketing genius and avid basketball player, and his wife who owned a chain of beauty shops. Beauty shops were an emerging market in the mid 1930s but women’s sports wasn’t. From Breaking the Press: the Incredible story of the All American Red Heads

“The Women’s Division of the National Amateur Athletic Federation (WDNAAF) took the position that basketball, along with other sports, were too competitive for women and launched campaigns to prevent the sport being played in schools, industrial leagues, or frankly, anywhere.”

This proscriptive approach actually paved the way for the success of the All American Red Heads by setting up the expectation that women shouldn’t be playing such a vigorous game and that there was no way they should even try to compete with men.

However, less than twenty years after women got the vote that marketing genius Ole Olson, not only put a women’s team together, he scheduled them to play by men’s rules and against men’s teams.

“Regardless of the Olsons’ intentions and how it evolved, the notion of combining athletic competition with beauty was a direct and bold challenge to the cultural view that competition and femininity were mutually exclusive. And the Olsons really threw down the gauntlet when they decided that their team would only play against men using men’s rules. If the notion of fielding a basketball team happened organically, at some point there was clear intent on the part of the Olson’s to deliberately create a different concept — having women play only against men using men’s rules.”

The Red Heads were a huge attraction wherever they went, and even some places they didn’t. They travelled to every corner of the United States, to the Philippines and Mexico and twice toured Alaska. Apart from a break during World War II, the Red Heads played for fifty years. They were featured in major magazines and on legendary TV shows. They once had a 96 game winning streak and they won most of the games they played. They had a bruising schedule that had them traveling across the country in a limo and playing games every night, and sometimes twice a night. They contributed enormously to the changing perception of women in sports and helped paved the way for Title IX that mandated equal opportunity for women in any federally funded education program, including sports. It took them half a century but the Red Heads ultimately provided the opportunities for girls to play basketball at all levels and in doing so, made their show obsolete.

They were the first women’s team inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 and this June there will be a book signing at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which also inducted the Red Heads and has an exhibit dedicated to them.

From the book, describing Tammy Harrison making her acceptance speech on behalf of the Red Heads at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony:

“As you have read, the Red Heads were trailblazers, pioneers who inspired women and defied the expectations of the time. They helped create a new image and perception of a woman. She could now be an athlete who could compete with men.

“It’s easy in hindsight to see the natural progression of things, to see how one step leads to the next, and to the next, until a small grain of sand turns into a beach, or an outrageous idea into an accepted norm. Hindsight minimizes the effort, courage and insight that is needed to get a ball — even a basketball — rolling.”

Listen to the radio show with Tammy Harrison who grew up with the Red Heads, daughter of owner and coach Orwell Moore and her mother Lorene, who just happened to score more than 35000 point over a decade long career with the legendary women’s team

Get your copy of Breaking the Press: the Incredible story of the All American Red Heads